Perth: Homeless mother and son find housing after going viral

A homeless mother and son’s lives have dramatically changed for the better after a stranger helped them out of their precarious situation.

Single mum Mackay and her son Charlie were living out of their ute with no heating or cooling when a desperate plea on Facebook caught some unwanted attention.

Mackay had shared a post on a community Facebook page asking for help finding a safe place to park the vehicle overnight, prompting some shocking reactions from men who said they were going to “go after her”.

That post, and the disturbing responses, were noticed by therapist Claire Orange who took them into her home and created a GoFundMe campaign that went viral and brought attention to the pair‘s cause.

Charlie and Mackay have since found accommodation, organised by the young boy‘s school.

“It was than I had ever hoped for, when I walked through, I started crying,” Mackay told The Project.

“There is a yard out the back, he can have his trampoline and swing set, the life a boy should have.”

Ms Orange‘s kindness has led to nearly $21,000 in donations for “Charlie and Mackay’s new life”, bringing in much-needed funds to support the pair.

“Mackay and Charlie now get to start their new life feeling secure and with the opportunity to access services that will help little Charlie to thrive socially, emotionally and in his learning too,” Ms Orange said in an update on the page.

The GoFundMe campaign has now closed after it “well exceeded” its target, with the money also going toward healthcare for Charlie who has ADHD and other mental health disorders.

“Claire and her family have been amazing, it has actually allowed me to be able to take a breath and relax, you know, for five or 10 minutes here and there,” Mackay said.

The pair is just one of the thousands of people affected by homelessness as rent and housing become more unaffordable across Australia.

The weekly median rent for a home in Perth sits at $495, or $420 for a unit, according to the latest PropTrack Market Insight report.

That represents a 10 per cent increase in house prices and a 6.3% rise for units.

“It’s a big challenge for renters and ultimately impacts low-income workers and essential workers the most,” the report‘s author Cameron Kusher said.

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